U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has made an impassioned plea for the U.S. and the World Bank to release billions of dollars of Afghan assets that were frozen after the Taliban takeover in August. Guterres warned Thursday that Afghanistan faces economic and social collapse, with some 8.7 million Afghans now teetering on the brink of starvation. He also called on the international community to step up and fund the U.N.’s $5 billion humanitarian appeal.
Secretary-General António Guterres: “Freezing temperatures and frozen assets are a lethal combination for the people of Afghanistan. Rules and conditions that prevent money from being used to save lives and the economy must be suspended in this emergency situation. International funding should be allowed to pay the salaries of public sector workers and to help Afghan institutions deliver healthcare, education and other vital services.”